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Friday, March 05, 2010

Ind. Decisions - One today from 7th Circuit

InU.S. v. White (ND Ind., Moody), an 11-page opinion, Judge Evans writes:

Pursuant to a written plea agreement with the government, Dewayne White pled guilty to one count of distributing crack cocaine. After the plea was accepted by the judge, but before sentencing, both parties learned that White’s criminal history made him ineligible for a “safety valve” reduction, which, in turn, negated the practical effect of the two other reductions the government had agreed to support. Upon learning this news, White filed a motion seeking to withdraw his plea on the basis of this “mutual mistake.” The government opposed the motion, arguing that the plea should stand because the “mutual mistake” did not affect the essential terms of the agreement and because White knew that the safety valve reduction might not apply. The district judge sympathized with White but denied his request. White now appeals. * * *

Like the district court, we too sympathize with White. But had he been allowed to withdraw his plea, a subsequent guilty verdict by a jury looks here like it would have been a foregone conclusion. And then he might have received a sentence of even more than 10 years. Because the agreement did not promise a specific sentence, and the record shows that White knew the possible consequences of his plea, the district judge did not abuse his discretion in denying White’s motion. For these reasons, since we reject White’s attempt to set aside the plea agreement, the appeal waiver stands and we must dismiss his appeal for want of jurisdiction.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 5, 2010 11:11 AM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions